Spider silks have been employed by man for several thousands of years. Spider silks possess extraordinary mechanical properties due to a combination of strength and extensibility that are superior to most man-made fibers. Spider silk fibers are a protein-based material produced in a highly sophisticated hierarchical process under mild conditions. Here, we review the current understanding of spider silk and its assembly process, as well as discuss the application of silk-based materials to the fields of biomedicine and materials engineering.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70057-8